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Bolts Ink 2016 Draft Pick Taylor Raddysh to Entry-Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Taylor Raddysh to a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Raddysh, 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, played in 58 regular season games this season with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, recording 42 goals and 109 points with a plus-67 rating. He led the OHL for assists with 67, ranked second for points and tied for sixth for goals. Raddysh recently helped the Otters to the J. Ross Robertson Cup as champions of the OHL, registering 12 goals and 31 points in 22 games. He was tied for third for points during the OHL playoffs, along with fellow Lightning prospect Anthony Cirelli, and is third for assists. Raddysh and the Otters are preparing to play for the Memorial Cup, which is awarded to the champions of the CHL.

A native of Caledon, Ontario, Raddysh has appeared in 183 career OHL games with Erie, notching 87 goals and 209 points with a career plus-78 rating and 15 game-winning goals. He also skated in 54 career playoff games, recording 19 goals and 47 points.

Raddysh also skated for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. He recorded five goals, tied for fourth in the tournament, and six points in seven games. Raddysh scored four goals on December 29 versus Latvia, making him the fourth player in Team Canada WJC history to do so, joining Brayden Schenn, Simon Gagne and Mario Lemieux.

The 19-year-old was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2016 NHL Draft.

BP Commentary:

This is a nice, early reward for Raddysh, who was coming off a hat trick in Game 5 of Erie's championship series with Mississauga. He was among the top power forwards in the OHL this year and perhaps most impressively, excelled as an 18-year-old with Team Canada at the WJCs. He'll be a returning member next year barring something unforeseen. That's usually a sign of a player who has the potential to be an all-star at the NHL level.

Fans penciling Raddysh into the Lightning lineup this fall can put their pencils away as Raddysh has another year of junior left. He can't play in the AHL until the fall of 2018, unless he pulls a Brayden Point and makes the jump right to the NHL from juniors. Raddysh's contract slides to when he turns pro, and the Lightning have done this (signed prospects a year early) lately with their higher picks such as Boris Katchouk, Matt Spencer, Point, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, and Cirelli.

This could be a precursor to another Raddysh signing as Taylor's brother, Darren, is a free agent overage defenseman for the Otters. As a righty puckmover capable of quarterbacking a power play, he fits a need in the Lightning system and Tampa Bay has an obvious "in" with him being part of the family already. Darren could play in the AHL next season if signed. He had 16 goals and 81 points in 62 games for the Otters this season. He had 22 points in 22 playoff games. Many expect him to sign with an NHL team at the conclusion of the Memorial Cup.

One player who's heading to the Memorial Cup and needs to be signed is Bokondji Imama, a 2015 pick of the Lightning. Imama had a breakout year as an overager with Saint John this season, scoring 41 goals and 55 points in 66 games. He also had more than 100 penalty minutes. Imama has to be signed by June or he's fair game. The Lightning wanted to see Imama develop his all-around game this year in the Q and he did that in spades, starting with his much-improved skating. It's possible he could be signed to an AHL deal this summer if no other NHL team has interest.

The Lightning have as many as nine newcomers expected to make the jump from juniors into the pro ranks this fall (roster limit for signed players in an organization is 50):

D Erik Cernak, Erie (OHL)
C Anthony Cirelli, Erie (OHL)
W Boko Imama, Saint John (QMJHL)*
G Connor Ingram, Kamloops (WHL)
W Mathieu Joseph, Saint John (QMJHL)
D Matt Spencer, Peterborough (OHL)
W/C Mitchell Stephens, London (OHL)
W Jonne Tammela, Peterborough (OHL)
W Dennis Yan, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

*Not signed

Signed, but not AHL eligible and probable to return to juniors:

D Libor Hajek, Saskatoon (WHL)
C Brett Howden, Moose Jaw (WHL)
W Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
W Taylor Raddysh, Erie (OHL)

Commentary by Chad Schnarr